Campaign of the Month: October 2017
Blood and Bourbon
Charming, easygoing lord of the French Quarter
“My father warned me when I was very young to be wary of deals that seem too good to be true; so it is, I fear, with the lord of the French Quarter. In a city (or just species?) beset with sadists in positions of power who delight in beating others down, he’s made his way as the champion of underdogs, the smiling face and gently helping hand to neonates and new arrivals… myself included. His own powerful position makes these gifts trivial matters for him, but they win him all the loyalty in the world for those that have nothing or nowhere else to go. I get the feeling much of what he does for others constitute more fliers than meticulously planned investments, and that oftentimes he’s content to simply see where matters go—with the knowledge that he only needs a very few to pay off to more than justify the investments. He’s affable, polite, lenient, and knowingly and needlessly flattering. Among the living these traits would be enough on their own to make friends, but they stand out so startlingly from the rest of our kind that it makes him hard to trust him on those grounds alone: I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop. All the same, I keep coming back over and over again. Is it because I have no other choice, or because he’s the only one that offers one?”
It’s not difficult to see why Savoy has won over others. While the prince conducts himself as a dark god, or at least the dark right hand of him, a biblical figure of power, the lord of the French Quarter demands a wholly different manner of respect: his very humbleness speaks more to his security in his strength than any heavy-handed beating handed out ever will.
—Caroline Malveaux’s thoughts upon their first meeting
“Mr. Savoy would be a grand friend to keep, if he were not making himself an enemy of my prince. Ut nocte custodiam rati, lucem stultus.”
—George Vernon Smith
“The self-styled ‘lord of the French Quarter’ presents himself, as do so many pretenders, as the eminently reasonable alternative to the tyrannical prince. Laying aside the question of whether or not he is genuine—many seem to believe he is—the wise should ask themselves exactly what sort of city New Orleans would become in such hands. As Robert Charles Winthrop once observed, ‘kine, in a word, must necessarily be controlled, either by a power within them, or by a power without them; either by the Word of God, or by the strong arm of man; either by the Bible, or by the bayonet’. The same is all the more true of Kindred. If one were to remove the twin pillars of the ‘bayonet’ and ‘bible’ as offered by Prince Vidal, what do they believe Lord Savoy would replace them with, save anarchy and destruction? I am not convinced, and even were I not sworn to loyalty to the prince, I would find him a hard sell. If only others were so discerning.”
Savoy is a short, thin man with strong European features. His hair is dark, as is the perpetual facial hair that hovers just between a five-o’clock shadow and a true beard. He prefers casual suits or sport coats and is rarely seen without a smile on his face. When he is emotional or emphatic, the faintest trace of a French accent emerges in his voice.
Relative to Kindred such as Augusto Vidal and Pearl Chastain, Antoine Savoy is at once a newcomer to the Crescent City and one of its oldest residents. A Frenchman Embraced by Maria Pascual during the reign of Louis XIV, Savoy learned much of courtly intrigue and cultivating a grandiose image from the Sun King, and on several occasions has even claimed to be one of Louis’ many bastard sons. After his sire ran afoul of enemies in Paris—he paints it as anyone from Prince Francois Villon to Anarchs to Sabbat—Savoy was driven into torpor and spirited away by his sire to New Orleans.
Pascual told no one of her childe’s existence, and Savoy would sleep until a portentous night in 1895 when the elder Toreador was destroyed by assailants unknown. His sire’s final death jolted Savoy out of torpor and into a vastly different world. He kept to the shadows for nearly a year, learning all he could about his new home while surreptitiously contacting Pascual’s allies. Vidal, meanwhile, investigated the former primogen’s death and deliberated who to appoint as next regent of the French Quarter.
Savoy did not give him the chance.
Ever since the Quarter developed into the tourist locale that it is tonight, Savoy has used his dominance over it to expand his influence. Engaged in a constant, bitter struggle with Prince Vidal, who refuses to recognize his legitimacy to grant territory and feeding rights, Savoy has actually used the cold war as a means of cementing his own authority. Easily able to pass as a local Creole, he plays upon the historical, racial and religious concerns of the locals. Savoy portrays himself as Catholic, but he is accepting of the precepts of Vodoun. He even incorporates Vodouisant practices into his Catholic rites, a melding uncommon but not unheard of in New Orleans. In so doing, he increases the enmity of Prince Vidal (for “polluting” the faith) and Baron Cimitière (who believes that Savoy uses Vodoun purely as a tool to gain support among its followers).
Savoy paints himself as a protector of black, Creole and Vodoun culture and Kindred. Many of Savoy’s detractors—Baron Cimitière is far from the only one—paint him as a pretender who uses these causes purely to advance his own agenda. Rumor even suggests that Savoy’s allegiance to the Lancea et Sanctum is pure show, that he joined that covenant because it conveys the image he desires, rather than for legitimate beliefs. The French Quarter and other poor districts of the city, already tense due to severe overpopulation (at least in Kindred terms), have more than once verged on open war between Savoy’s supporters and his enemies.
Savoy is remarkably open and approachable for a Kindred lord, holding an open court every Saturday to which anyone may come and speak, and also making proclamations and speeches at Elysium like a politician seeking reelection. How genuinely sincere he is is anyone’s guess, but he has gathered a sufficient number of supporters and followers to stand fast against the efforts of both Prince Vidal and Baron Cimitière to unseat him.
• Unknown sire
Maria Pascual (e. centuries ago, d. late 19th century)
• Antoine Savoy (e. 17th century)
• Donovan (e. late 19th century)
• Camilla Doriocourt (e. mid 20th century)